By Laura Fox For Mailonline
Published: 13:15 BST, 16 September 2020 | Updated: 13:19 BST, 16 September 2020
EastEnders star Jake Wood has quit the soap after 15 years playing the villain Max Branning.
The actor, 48, confirmed he would be leaving Albert Square at the end of the year, but added that bosses will be leaving the door open for his return.
Jake first joined the EastEnders cast in 2006, and has faced his fair share of drama, including womanising, a secret marriage and even being framed for murder.
He's off! EastEnders star Jake Wood has quit the soap after 15 years playing the womanising villain Max Branning
Jake said: 'I've had 15 wonderful years at EastEnders and have made some truly great friends.
'I'll of course miss everyone there but I'm grateful they have left the door open for Max and I'm excited to see what the next chapter holds.'
Executive producer Jon Sen also praised Jake's contribution to the soap, saying: 'Jake is a truly wonderful actor and EastEnders have been extremely lucky to have him for so long.
'We have a big storyline for Max that starts in the coming weeks and we are all very excited to see that play out.'
Leaving: The actor confirmed he would be leaving Albert Square later this year, but bosses will be leaving the door open for his return (pictured with Lacey Turner as Stacey in 2007)
Jake's final scenes are expected to air later this year, as EastEnders fans gear up for the soap's much-anticipated Christmas storylines.
On his exit an insider told Digital Spy: 'Sometimes in Soapland big characters have to leave.
'Bosses are staying tight-lipped about